EXCLUSIVE: More than a decade after it went off the air, Nickelodeon’s 1990s game show Figure It Out is making a comeback. The cable network has ordered 40 brand new episodes of the family-friendly game show to begin production in April in Los Angeles for a premiere later this year. Every Figure It Out episode features a panel of celebrities trying to guess kid contestants’ unique talents and skills by asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions while being bombarded by messy visual and tactile clues. If, after three rounds, the panel still can’t figure out the kid’s feat, the contestant takes home the grand prize. Each game culminates in the reveal of the talent with an in-studio demo. “Figure It Out is a show that celebrates kids and their wonderful and often bizarre talents” said Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s president of development and original programming. “In this internet age where kids are expressing themselves online, it feels timely to give them a TV platform to showcase those talents in a uniquely Nickelodeon way.”
Created by Kevin Kay and Magda Liolis, Figure It Out originally aired on Nickelodeon for four seasons from July 1997 to December 1999 and was hosted by Olympic gold medalist swimmer Summer Sanders. The panel was a mix of Nick personalities and celebrities and included Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Aaron Carter, Chris Jericho, Coolio, Jack Hanna, Sherman Helmsley, Evander Holyfield, Joe Namath, Julius Erving, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mike O’Malley and Mya, among several others. The show also spawned 2 offshoots, Figure it Out: Family Style and Figure it Out: Wild Style.
The reboot of Figure It Out, which will be executive produced by Eileen Braun and Magda Liolis, continues the 1990s’ boom on Nickelodeon. The midnight-4 AM block The ’90s Are All That, which features reruns of 1990s Nick sitcoms, has done quite well on Nickelodeon’s sibling Teen Nick. Figure Out also is the latest in a string of original game show franchises developed and launched by Nickelodeon in the past 25 years. The first game show that aired on the network was Double Dare in 1986, featuring Nick’s now signatory slime. It was followed by Finders Keepers and Super Sloppy Double Dare (’87), Family Double Dare, (’88), Make the Grade and Think Fast (’89), Wild and Crazy Kids (’90), Get the Picture (’91), GUTS and Nick Arcade (’92), Legends of the Hidden Temple (’93), Global GUTS, (’95), Figure it Out (’97), You’re On! and Figure it Out: Family Style (’98), Figure it Out: Wild Style (’99), Double Dare 2000 (’00), and Nick Robot Wars and Scaredy Camp (’02). The network’s most recent entries in the genre were Family GUTS (’08), BrainSurge (‘09) and Family BrainSurge (’11). Here is a clip from the original Figure It Out: